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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - August 8th, 2022

Amendment to WIOA Introduced; Commerce Announces Good Jobs Challenge Winners

Washington Update

Startup Act

On Tuesday, August 2, Congressman Rick Allen (GA) introduced the Startup Act, which would amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) with the aim to boost startups and small businesses across the country by expanding access to training programs and resources for entrepreneurs. The legislation would authorize the Department of Labor (DOL) to conduct a three-year, multi-state study to analyze entrepreneurial skill development programs and how they affect the economy.

Click here to access the legislation.

Click here to read a press release on the bill.

Good Jobs Challenge Winners

On Wednesday, August 3, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the winners of the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge, which is administered by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The awards were given to 32 industry-led workforce training partnerships out of 509 applications from across the country, and are funded by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP). The grants will allow communities to invest in innovative approaches to workforce development that are industry-led, community-driven and worker-centric and secure job opportunities for thousands of Americans - with an emphasis on disadvantaged groups and communities that have struggled with poverty and difficulty filling high-quality jobs.

Congratulations to all winners, in particular, U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council members that won grants through the Challenge!

Click here to read the press release and see the full list of winners.

Click here to access a fact sheet on the awards.

Cybersecurity Apprenticeships Sprint

On Tuesday, July 19, the U.S Department of Labor (DOL), in partnership with the White House and the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced a 120-Day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint in order to promote the Registered Apprenticeship model as a solution for numerous industries to develop and train a skilled cybersecurity workforce. This national campaign aims to encourage employers, industry associations, labor unions, and training providers to explore Registered Apprenticeship as a recruitment, training, and retention strategy, as well as connect with the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship to develop new apprenticeship programs or quickly join existing programs. The sprint will continue until the end of National Apprenticeship Week which runs from November 14-20, 2022.

Currently, there are 714 registered apprenticeship programs and 42,260 apprentices in cybersecurity-related occupations. Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, 199 new programs have been created. The Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint will build upon this progress and focus on creating new pathways for workers in cybersecurity or a related field through partnerships with K-12, higher education, workforce partners and training programs. Click here to learn more about the initiative.

Click here to read the White House fact sheet on the summit.

Department of Education Nominee

On Thursday, August 4, the Senate confirmed President Biden’s nominee Nasser Paydar, the former chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, to be assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education. There are still two Department of Education nominees waiting on Senate action - Glenna Wright Gallo for assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services and LaWanda Toney for assistant secretary for communications and outreach.

Unemployment Rate

On Friday, August 5, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the July unemployment report which showed nonfarm payrolls increased 528,000 last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5% - matching a five-decade low. Wage growth also increased with the average hourly earnings jumping 0.5% for the month and 5.2% from a year ago. The better than expected numbers last month are signs the labor market remains strong - despite other signs of economic weakness. The strong job and wage numbers shifted expectations for September’s expected rate increase. Traders are now pricing in a higher likelihood of a 0.75 percentage point hike for the next Federal Reserve meeting, which would be the third straight increase of that magnitude.

Click here to access the report.

Click here to read the blog post from Secretary Walsh on the July jobs report.

Click here to read Secretary Walsh’s statement on the July jobs report.

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